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Mexico – Lawmakers propose limits on number of casino licenses per administration

By - 9 January 2024

Senators Geovanna Bañuelos, Cora Pinedo Alonso, Martha Márquez and Joel Padilla, of the The Labour Party (PT), have put forward a project that aims to limit the number of casino permits during the first years of each federal administration.

The initiative aims to reform article 3 of Mexico’s Federal Law on Games and Sweepstakes. The lawmakers propose that licenses will only be granted by the Ministry of the Interior during the first three years of each Federal administration. The project has been sent to the joint commissions of the Interior and Legislative Studies for analysis and subsequent rulings. 

Senator Bañuelos, coordinator of the PT Parliamentary Group, noted that during the six-year term of Vicente Fox, 340 operating permits were granted for casinos with 153 of these permits authorized by the then Secretary of the Interior, Santiago Creel Miranda; while during the government of Felipe Calderón, 154 permits for casinos were authorized. During the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, 123 licences were granted. 

“The decision to put a limit on the issuance of permits for games and raffles involving betting during the first half of a government administration has certain advantages and strategic considerations that can be taken into account for the effective management of the gaming industry,” Bañuelos said in statements to newspaper Milenio. 

She also said that the aim of the measure is to also provide greater control over the total number of game rooms, “establishing more effective planning in terms of geographic distribution, social and economic impact, and other relevant factors that the gaming industry has.” 

Bañuelos argued that this will also bring benefits for permit holders, as with this measure the saturation of the gaming market can be controlled and this in turn will help mitigate any potentially negative social impact on communities.

The lawmaker finished by saying that issuing permits at the beginning of an administration would provide “greater predictability and regulatory stability to operators”, since knowing the regulatory framework in advance can improve long-term planning and investments. 

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